Campaign set to remind landowners of their hedgecutting responsibilities

Mayo County Council is planning to step up its awareness campaign this year at the start of September to remind landowners of their hedgecutting responsibilities.

The council intends to issue reminders through advertisements in local newspapers, on local radio as well as on its website. The hedgecutting season will begin again this Friday, September 1, as the annual ban draws to a close.

With this in mind, the Cathoirleach of Mayo County Council, Cllr. Richard Finn, is calling on landowners, farmers and householders to ensure that roadside hedges are cut and maintained.

This, he says, is so that motorists, cyclists and pedestrians can travel safely on country roads. He similarly asks that overhanging vegetation in urban areas be cut back from footpaths and at junctions.

Landowners of the broader Irish countryside, and not just Mayo, should heed Cllr. Finn’s warning – as it is the responsibility of the landowner, not county councils, to keep hedgerows under control.

Section 70 of the Roads Act 1993 places responsibility for the maintenance of roadside hedges on the owners/occupiers of the adjoining lands.

Landowners across the country are responsible for the cutting, trimming and maintenance of roadside trees and hedges which are a hazard – or potential hazard – to road users or interfere with the maintenance of the road, according to Mayo County Council.

Dead and unsafe trees should be removed and hedges should be trimmed. When this work is being carried out, all reasonable care should be taken to ensure the safety of road users, it added.

Landowners in Ireland are also responsible for the cost of removing fallen trees from public roads. Professional advice on the condition of roadside trees should be obtained from time to time and dead or unsafe trees should be removed, the council explained.

The season when hedgecutting is permitted under the Wildlife Act is between the start of September and the end of February the following year.

Mayo County Council also has a community hedgecutting grant scheme in operation, which encourages a joint approach with communities and groups of local residents and landowners, for cutting hedges and trees which need attention.

The grant will contribute €40/km, which equates to about 33% of the cost, according to a council representative.